The following is a short interview with Succinctly series author Matteo Pagani, whose new book, MSIX Succinctly, was published recently. You can download this book from our ebook portal.
1. What should people know about MSIX? Why is it important?
MSIX is the new packaging technology in Windows 10. Microsoft is investing a lot in it in order for it to become a complete deployment technology moving forward. They want it to replace all the existing ones, like MSI or App-V, in almost every scenario. Compared to the previous technology, MSIX is safer, more efficient, faster, and helps to keep the users’ computer clean of unused registry keys or files. For IT pros, it helps to break the vicious cycle of having to repackage applications at every update in order to satisfy the customization requirements by a company. For developers, instead, it opens up new opportunities, like leveraging Windows 10 features in existing Win32 apps. And thanks to the App Installer support included in Windows 10, you can enable automatic updates even without using the Store infrastructure.
2. When did you first become interested in this subject?
My team started to work on this technology when it was called Desktop Bridge. It was the first attempt by Microsoft to leverage the Microsoft Store to distribute not only Universal Windows Platform apps, but also Win32 applications. We were running a program to help developers who wanted to achieve this goal with their applications and the response was overwhelming. In one year, we have helped more than 1,000 developers and companies to package their applications and publish them on the Microsoft Store.
3. By writing this e-book, did you learn anything new yourself?
Every book I write is a great learning experience! Writing a book means that you have to dig into all the details of the technology, including the ones you didn’t know yet. Now I can be more prepared in my customer engagement or when I get questions about MSIX.
4. How will MSIX change over the next few years?
MSIX is already evolving fast, with the goal to address the features that customers are demanding, but still missing. A great example is the upcoming Windows 10 update, 20H1, which will include support for Windows Services, one of the top requests. Also, the MSIX Packaging Tool, the tool to repackage existing apps as MSIX, is evolving with support for new features that will simplify the way customers can sign their packages with a digital identity.
5. Do you see MSIX as part of a larger trend in software development?
Yes, application packaging and deployment is a big topic in the industry. There are a lot of companies that need to manage thousands of computers and deploy hundreds of apps. With the current technologies, like MSIX and App-V, there are still some pain points and MSIX is trying to solve them so that the life of developers and IT pros can be easier.
6. What other books or resources on this topic do you recommend?
If you’re a developer, I would recommend my previous book published by Syncfusion, UWP Succinctly. When I wrote the book, all the concepts were applicable only to new applications, most of the time written from scratch. Thanks to MSIX, many of the topics can now also be leveraged by existing applications and technologies, like WPF and Windows Forms. Features like XAML Islands enable you to use the UI controls described in the book in your existing apps. Most of the APIs described in the book can also now be leveraged from Win32 apps.
7. How do you stay up to date on industry news?
Twitter is my main source of information around the tech world. I also use a lot of the Syncfusion Succinctly books. They’re short and very well done, so they’re perfect to get up to speed and learn the basics of different technologies, even if I’m not planning to work with them in the near future. But it’s a great way to stay up to date on the whole industry and be more effective in my conversations with customers.
8. Do you have a blog page or a website where people can find you?
Sure! My team has an official blog, available at https://aka.ms/appconsultblog and this is where I publish all the articles related to the technologies I’m working with.
If you liked this post, we think you’d also enjoy:
[ebook] More UWP Succinctly
[white paper download] Advanced UWP Part 1: Interacting with the Real World
[white paper download] Advanced UWP Part 2: Communicating with Windows 10 and Other Apps